State Sen. Billy Garrett, who represents District 10—spanning the South Carolina counties of Abbeville, Greenwood, McCormick, and Saluda—spoke at Erskine’s Constitution Day Convocation Tuesday, Sept. 28.
This year, Constitution Day at Erskine was celebrated as “John Drummond Constitution Day” in memory of the late state senator, who served District 10 from 1966 to 2008.
Interim President Dr. J. Thomas Hellams offered a tribute to Drummond, describing him as a strong supporter of education. Known for his leadership and integrity, Drummond was a decorated veteran of World War II. He was elected President Pro Tempore of the Senate by his colleagues in 1996. In 2002, he delivered Erskine’s commencement address and was awarded an honorary degree at the graduation ceremony.
Garrett, who worked with Drummond, also spoke about the late state senator, describing him as “a conservative businessman who kept his eye on the common man.” He noted that Drummond, who grew up in the 1920s, worked to ensure that rural areas of South Carolina were provided with electricity. He also supported education and education reform.
Calling the United States Constitution “a beautiful, living document,” Garrett said the constitution’s purpose is to protect our country, especially as it is threatened by “terrorist ideologies.”
Garrett stressed that he and his generation are committed to the United States and its constitution and told students that their generation must carry that commitment forward.
“I challenge you to stand up for America and stand up for the constitution of the United States,” he said.
Associate Professor of Music Dr. Keith Timms led the audience in singing patriotic songs to mark the occasion, accompanied by Assistant Professor of Music Dr. Deborah Caldwell, trumpet, and senior Sam Tam, piano.
All institutions of higher education receiving federal funds must provide educational programming celebrating the history, meaning, and importance of the United States Constitution on or near Sept. 17, the day the Constitution was signed in Philadelphia in 1787.